Someone Moved the Goal Posts By Elaine Ingalls Hogg

It was a private dream and I’d had it since childhood. Over the years several friends encouraged me to pursue it. Their words watered the seed, dormant for so many years but there were still a number of obstacles to overcome. Perhaps the main one was my lack of conviction that the dream was really attainable. I had no trouble encouraging my friends to believe their dreams would come true but I did have a problem believing in mine.

When the lights were off at night and I lay listening to the darkness, I’d think about my dream. I wanted to be an author. Alone with my thoughts, I’d think about the kind of story I’d write someday but when morning came, the duties of the day pushed aside those thoughts and nothing appeared on paper.

One morning I was thinking about how I had always enjoyed telling stories to children. That’s what I should do, write stories and tell them to children. ‘Your own children are adults and you haven’t told stories for years,’ my inner voice reminded me. But this time I didn’t listen for long. Before my feet touched the floor, I made my decision, “I’ll never know until I try,” and I set out to do just that.

About this time I made a visit to my grandchildren. When I went to leave them after tucking them in for the night, they asked me to put on their tape. It was then I discovered the tape they listened to every night before going to sleep was Grandma Loves You, a story I had written for them. In the morning, the oldest grandchild told me she needed more stories. So that night I sat up late and wrote a story about my mischievous dog, Ben Nevis.

Now it was time to try the stories out on a wider audience so I volunteered to do a story day at the local library.

When I was introduced at the library two weeks later, I can’t say that I was prepared for the sea of fifty-six little faces milling about before me. “There’s such a wide gap in their ages! How will I keep them entertained?” the thoughts ran through my mind. “Well, you don’t have time to figure it out. If you don’t start now they’ll be climbing the bookshelves.” I took a big breath and began.

Aidan Alexander had one wish. When he woke up in the morning he said, “I wish,” but his mother said, “Shhh! I know what you are wishing and you can’t have it! But Aidan Alexander wished his wish every morning. He wished his wish when he went to school and he wished his wish when he went to bed at night. Aidan Alexander said, “I wish I had a real live wiggly puppy.”

The room became quiet. I had their attention and for the next hour I told stories. The children smiled when Aidan brought home a fluffy white dog named Ben Nevis for a visit. They held their breath when Ben chased the cat and knocked over Mrs. Alexander’s plant. They laughed at the white dog with one ear up and one ear down wearing green plants and brown mud in his fur and they gasped when Mrs. Alexander scolded him and told Aidan she didn’t want a messy dog in her clean house. To me, the hour was like magic.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone was snapping pictures. Later I learned there was a reporter in the audience and she had decided to do an article about the Grandma who was taking up a new career. I think the day I read the article in our provincial paper, I became a tiny bit suspicious that this decision to try to write just might go further than I had expected.

Being totally na